Cinnamon Stack Biscuits

Cinnamon Stack Biscuits
Recipe by Winnifred Jardine

2 cups all-puropose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
½ cup shortening
2/3 cup milk
¼ cup melted butter
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

In a large mixing bowl, stir flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, salt and sugar together. Cut shortening into the dry ingredients and mix well—until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk and mix until it forms a ball. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll it into a 16×10 inch rectangle. Brush with melted butter; sprinkle with mixture of ¼ cup sugar and cinnamon. Cut lengthwise into five 2-inch strips. Stack the five strips; cut into 12 pieces. Place cut side down in 12 greased muffin tins. Bake at 425 for 12 to 15 minutes. Makes 12 biscuits.

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Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 (1 pound) sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Directions

  1. Boil sweet potato whole in skin for 40 to 50 minutes, or until done. Run cold water over the sweet potato, and remove the skin.
  2. Break apart sweet potato in a bowl. Add butter, and mix well with mixer. Stir in sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into an unbaked pie crust.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 55 to 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Pie will puff up and eventually fall as it cools off.

Thanksgiving AND Christmas Recipes

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Sweet Potato Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 (1 pound) sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Directions

  1. Boil sweet potato whole in skin for 40 to 50 minutes, or until done. Run cold water over the sweet potato, and remove the skin.
  2. Break apart sweet potato in a bowl. Add butter, and mix well with mixer. Stir in sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into an unbaked pie crust.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 55 to 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Pie will puff up and eventually fall as it cools off.

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes 

5 pounds potatoes, cooked and mashed
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons garlic salt
pepper to taste
Combine mashed potatoes, cream cheese, sour cream, milk, garlic salt and pepper. Mix well and place in a large, greased casserole dish. If making ahead, refrigerate.  Otherwise, cover and bake at 325 degrees F. for 45 minutes. (If refrigerated first, let stand 30 minutes at room temperature and then bake as directed.) May need to add a little more sour cream or milk to soften.  Makes 6-8 servings.

Old Fashioned Stuffing

  • 30 slices white bread, lightly toasted (or packaged dry bread cubes)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons rubbed sage
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Allow the toasted bread to sit approximately 24 hours, until hard.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.  Crush the bread into crumbs with a rolling pin. Place the crumbs in a large bowl.  Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and celery and slowly cook until soft. Remove from heat and drain.  Mix the eggs and chicken broth into the bread crumbs. The mixture should be moist, but not mushy. Use water, if necessary, to attain desired consistency. Mix in the onion, celery, rubbed sage, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Press the mixture into the baking dish. Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, or until the top is brown and crisp.

Green Bean Casserole

  • Large can of green beans, well drained (50 oz for a crowd) – pat dry OR use fresh steamed green beans
  • 2 small cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 pound grated mozzarella cheese
  • Combine the above
  • Can of French’s dried onions – shake some of the onions into the mixture.

Put mixture into baking dish and top with more French’s dried onions.  Cover.  Heat until bubbly.

Carolyn’s Orange Rolls

  • 3 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 2/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1 cup butter, diced
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups scalded milk
  • 2 egg, lightly beaten
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 14 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons grated orange zest

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Combine the diced butter, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the hot milk, and mix to dissolve the butter. Let stand until lukewarm.
  2. Mix the yeast, eggs, and flour into the milk mixture to form a sticky dough. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.
  3. Remove dough from the refrigerator 2 to 2 1/2 hours before baking. Divide the dough into halves. Roll each half out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thick rectangle.
  4. Mix the softened butter, one cup sugar, and orange peel in a bowl. Spread over the dough. Roll up the dough along the long edge. Cut the rolls into one inch slices with dental floss. Place in greased muffin cups. Let rise until doubled in bulk.
  5. Bake in a preheated 400 degree F (205 degree C) oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Icing for Rolls:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces cranberries
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup orange juice
 Directions:
  1. In a medium sized saucepan over medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the orange juice. Stir in the cranberries and cook until the cranberries start to pop (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and place sauce in a bowl. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.

Traditional Thanksgiving Dip for Crackers and Raw Vegetables

  • 2 8-oz pkgs Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 2 5-oz cans chicken
  • 1 cup green grapes, halved (Optional)
  • 4 chopped green onions
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • 2-5 tablespoons sour cream

Mix all ingredients together.  Add sour cream as needed to make it creamier.

Strawberry Jello

1 large strawberry jello dissolved in 2 cups boiling water

Add:

  • 2 10 oz pkgs sliced frozen strawberries (thawed WITH juice)
  • 2 small cans crushed pineapple with juice
  • 3 or 4 medium firm bananas, sliced
  • 1 pkg Knox gelatin dissolved in 1 T cold water (I don’t use)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Mix everything and pour half of it in a mayonnaised mold (use mayo to coat the mold; can use a bundt pan)

When firm, spread with 1/2 pint sour cream, but don’t let sour cream touch the sides of pan.  Gently pour over the rest of jello mixture so it surrounds the sour cream layer.  This makes a large mold.  Can also make it in a 9×13 pan and layer it.

Slow Cooker Creamed Corn

Ingredients:

  • 3 (15.25-ounces) cans whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cubed
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into thin slices

Instructions:

Place corn into a slow cooker. Stir in milk, sugar and pepper until well combined. Without stirring, top with butter and cream cheese. Cover and cook on high heat for 2-3 hours.  Uncover and stir until butter and cream cheese are well combined. Cover and cook on high heat for an additional 15 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Pecan Cookie Bars

  • 2  cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1/2  cup  sugar
  • 1/8  teaspoon  salt
  • 3/4  cup  butter or margarine, cut up
  • 1  cup  firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1  cup  light corn syrup
  • 1/2  cup  butter or margarine
  • 4  large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 1/2  cups  finely chopped pecans
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla extract

Combine flour, sugar, and salt in large bowl; cut in 3/4 cup butter thoroughly with a pastry blender until mixture resembles very fine crumbs. Press mixture evenly into a greased 13″ x 9″ pan, using a piece of plastic wrap to press crumb mixture firmly in pan.  Bake at 350° for 17 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned.  Combine brown sugar, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup butter in a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring gently. Remove from heat. Stir one-fourth of hot mixture (cooled) into beaten eggs; add to remaining hot mixture (cooled). Stir in pecans and vanilla. Pour filling over crust. Bake at 350° for 34 to 35 minutes or until set. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

Aunt Aud’s Berry Pie

Pie Crust:

  • 2 1/4 cups sifted flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup Crisco (don’t use butter and don’t use butter-flavored Crisco)
  • 1/3 cup water

Sift flour before measuring.  Combine flour and salt.  Remove 1/3 cup flour + salt mixture and set aside. Using a pastry blender cut Crisco into the large portion of flour and salt.  Continue blending until flour mixture almost holds together.  Add 1/3 cup water to the flour & salt previously set aside.  Mix until smooth and mostly lump free.  Pour paste over flour & Crisco mixture and quickly but gently mix until it forms a large ball (less than 30 seconds).  Divide dough in half and roll out using as little flour as possible to prevent sticking.  Recipe makes 2 single crusts or 1 double crust.

To make Berry Pie (can use for all berries except strawberry)

  • 5 cups fresh berries or thawed frozen berries drained WELL
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix dry ingredients together and then mix with berries.  Put berries into pie shell and top with crust.  Bake at 400 for 40-45 minutes.

Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread

  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7×3 inch loaf pans.  In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended.  Pour into the prepared pans.  Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Thanksgiving Frozen Dessert

Crust:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cube butter
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Mix thoroughly and press into the bottom of a 9×13 pan.  Bake at 300 degrees for 15 to 20 min, then cool.

First Layer:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 9 oz. cool whip (1/2 of carton)

Mix well and spread on first layer.

Second Layer:

  • 2 small pkgs. of instant pudding (I mixed 1 butterscotch with 1 chocolate)
  • 2 1/2 cups cold milk

Beat for 2 minutes then spread on second layer.  Then spread on remaining cool whip and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Pineapple Cheese Ball:

  • 2 8-oz packages cream cheese
  • 1 can (8.5 oz) crushed pineapple, drained
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup minced green pepper
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Soften cream cheese.  Press all juice out of pineapple (use juice for another purpose) and combine pineapple with cream cheese, onions, minced green pepper, and seasoned salt.  Mix well with wooden spoon.  Refrigerate for several hours.  Shape into a  log or a ball and roll in chopped pecans.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  makes 1 roll (or ball).

Turkey

Preheat the oven to 325.  Remove everything from inside the turkey (giblets, etc.).  Make sure there is nothing left in the neck cavity or otherwise.  Rinse turkey and pat dry with paper towels.

Place the turkey breast side up in a shallow open pan about 2-3 inches deep or set it on your cooking rack if you have one with a roasting pan.  Brush the breast with oil to help give it a brown color while it cooks.  Insert your meat thermometer into the inner thigh meat, but don’t touch the bone with the thermometer.  Place turkey into oven at 325 degrees.

Two thirds of the way done, tent the breast with aluminum foil so it won’t dry out while you are waiting for the thigh and drumsticks to finish cooking.

When the meat thermometer reads 180 degrees in thigh then it is done.  At this temperature juices should be clear, not reddish pink, when thigh muscle is pierced deeply.  Stick the thermometer into the center of breast to make sure it is 170 degrees.  (Get turkey leftovers into the fridge within 2 hours for food safety.)

Use this roasting schedule as a guide and start checking for done-ness about 30 minutes before end of recommended cooking times.

  1. Before carving, let your turkey stand 15 minutes to allow juices to set.

These are just guidelines.  Check on your turkey.

 

Net Weight (lb.) Unstuffed (hrs.) Stuffed (hrs.)
4½ to 7 2 to 2½ 2¼ to 2¾
7 to 9 2½ to 3 2¾ to 3½
9 to 18 3 to 3½ 3¾ to 4½
18 to 22 3½ to 4 4½ to 5
22 to 24 4 to 4½ 5 to 5½
24 to 30 4½ to 5 5½ to 6¼

Gravy

Take the turkey out of the roasting pan when it’s done and cover it with foil to keep it warm.  It should be 180 degrees in the thigh area.  If turkey juices are pink, it’s not done.  The juices should be clear.

Pour all the drippings in a separate container. Let it sit there and separate for awhile.  Scrape the bits in the roasting pan into a skillet on the stovetop.  These bits add flavor to your gravy.  Once the fat has separated from the drippings skim it off the top and put it in a separate bowl.  You can use a syringe to suck the fat off the top of the drippings.  Put 3 or 4 tablespoons of the fat back into the pan.  Now take 5 or 6 tablespoons of flour and sprinkle it into the pan.  With a whisk, stir the flour into the fat, scraping up all the bits from the bottom of the pan as you go.  Keep stirring until combined. You want it to be more floury than greasy, but still easy to stir.  If you add too much flour and it gets cakey and dry, just add in another tablespoon of fat.  Cook the roux (fat/flour combo) over low heat until the color of the brown deepens, about 4 or 5 minutes.

Take 1 can of low sodium chicken broth (so the gravy isn’t too salty).  Now, with the heat still on, pour the low sodium chicken broth into the pan, whisking as you go.  Work quickly to get all the roux mixed in with the liquid.  Now add in about 1 cup or so of the turkey drippings (not the fat—the drippings.)  Whisk it in and stir, letting the gravy thoroughly thicken and heat.  At this point, if you’d like the gravy to be less “speckly” or “dirty” in appearance, you can skim a small strainer along the top.  This stage of the gravy is very important; it has to cook for several minutes (even more) in order to thicken and reach the desired consistency. If the gravy gets too thick too soon, you can always thin it a bit with a little more chicken broth.  You can also continue to add more turkey drippings if you think the gravy needs a little more depth of flavor.  Add black pepper but don’t add salt unless you’ve tasted it first.  You don’t want to ruin the gravy by making it too salty. If the gravy cooks and cooks but remains too thin, mix 2 or 3 tablespoons of flour with enough water to make it stirrable, and stir it in. Slowly, the gravy will begin to thicken.  Tasting as you go is the key to making good gravy. Taste, then adjust, then taste again.  Sometimes you will have plenty of drippings and sometimes you won’t have any so I always have a couple of packets of dry turkey dressing mixes on hand, just in case.

How to Make Gravy Without Drippings

INGREDIENTS 1/2 cup butter, cut into about 8 pieces 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 4 cups pan drippings OR 4 cups chicken stock DIRECTIONS *If using drippings from a chicken or turkey: Pour drippings into a fine mesh strainer then allow the drippings to cool a bit so that the fat rises to the top and starts to solidify. Use a spoon to remove the fat. If you don’t have enough drippings to equal 4 cups, add enough chicken or turkey stock until you have 4 cups of drippings. *If you’re not using turkey or chicken drippings, use 4 cups chicken or turkey stock. In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter over medium-low heat. Sprinkle in 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper and then slowly add in 1/2 cup all-purpose flour.  Whisk to combine and stir until the flour is well mixed with the butter.  Then slowly begin to pour in drippings and/or chicken broth into the pan, constantly whisking. Allow the gravy to cook for several minutes, so that it can thicken up. Serve immediately, or keep on very low heat until you’re ready to serve.

Best Gingersnap Cookies

  • 1 ½ cups of butter (softened)
  • 2 cups of brown sugar
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • Mix together in mixer until fluffy
  • Sift Together in another bowl:
  • 6 cups of flour
  • 4 tsp. soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves

Mix 2 bowls together.  Form into small balls, roll in sugar.

Bake @375 for 11-12 minutes

Marianna’s Rolls

Here are the ingredients:
1 Tablespoon Dry Active Yeast
3 Teaspoons Sugar
3/4 Cup Warm Water
1/2 Cup Sugar
3 Teaspoons Salt
1/2 Cup Real Butter (not margarine)
1 Egg
1 Cup Mashed Potatoes
3 1/2 to 4 Cups Unbleached Flour

Before you get started, boil a medium potato until soft. Marianna says you can even use leftover mashed potatoes from dinner. Set it aside until it’s cool and mash it up. You’ll need a whole cup.

  1. To make the rolls, dissolve 1 tablespoon yeast in 3/4 cup warm water. Add 3 teaspoons sugar.
  2. Stir in 1/2 cup sugar, salt, egg, butter, cooled potatoes, and 2 cups flour. Mix until smooth.
  3. Mix in remaining flour (1 1/2-2 cups) a little at a time. Dough will be sticky and about the same consistency as cookie dough. Do not add too much flour- this is a soft dough.
  4. Transfer to bowl. Cover and put in fridge for at least 6 hours.

After the dough has sat in the fridge for 6+ hours:

  1. Grease 2 baking sheets (or one very big one)
  2. Flour counter top.
  3. Roll dough into a circle the size of a large pizza.
  4. Spread a thin layer of butter on top.
  5. Cut into 12 wedges, just like pizza slices.
  6. Roll up each wedge, beginning at the widest edge.
  7. Place rolls, with point under, on greased baking sheets.
  8. Cover, let rise 50% (not double) The time varies. In the summer it can take 15 minutes. In the winter it could take up to 3 hours.
  9. Preheat oven to 400 Degrees. Bake 12-15 minutes OR until golden brown.
  10. Remove from hot pan immediately.

Some helpful tips:

  • There will be some small pieces of potato in your dough- that’s fine.
  • Be generous with the flour on your counter top. The dough is very sticky.
  • If using two pans, the bottom pan in the oven will have rolls that are darker on bottom, and lighter on top. I like the variety, but you could switch the pans halfway through the cooking time.
  • Marianna serves her rolls very, very light. They barely have a golden tint to them, but when I followed the recipe, after 12 minutes they were completely golden. They’re delicious either way. Keep a close eye on them.
  • Feel free to double the recipe.
  • The dough keeps in the fridge for up to one month.

Pumpkin Pie Cake

  • 1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease one 9 x 13 inch pan (preferably metal).
  2. In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Mix well. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Sprinkle the dry cake mix evenly over the pumpkin mixture. Melt the butter or margarine, and drizzle it over the cake mix. Sprinkle walnuts over the top.
  4. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until done.

Three-Ingredient Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Spice Cookies

  • 1 Box Spice Cake Mix
  • 1 15 oz. can pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions: Preheat oven to 375. Mix all ingredients together. Drop dough, by spoonfuls, onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes.

Grandma Ople’s Apple Pie (From Allrecipes)

  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup water (Instead of 1/4 cup water, I added 3 T water + 1 T vanilla to the syrup)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 8 Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored and sliced
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer. (Add 1T of vanilla, 1tsp of cinnamon and dash nutmeg to the syrup.)
  2. Place the bottom crust in your pan. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work crust. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off.
  3. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are soft.

(To prevent it from being runny, add 2 tablespoons of tapioca to the sauce mixture and it comes out thick & gooey.  Be sure to use a glass baking dish with a baking sheet underneath to catch any syrup that may run over – you don’t want that sticky mess on the bottom of your oven.  Also, brush bottom of crust with egg whites to keep it from getting soggy and you might want to bake pie on the bottom rack of the oven to keep the crust from getting too brown.)

Pie Crust

  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  1. Mix shortening, flour, and salt together with a fork or a pastry blender until very crumbly. Add as much water as needed to hold together, and mix lightly with a fork.
  2. Roll gently on a floured pastry cloth to about an inch larger than pie plate. Fold carefully in half, lift to pie plate, and unfold. Press into pan. For a single-crust pie, trim with a small knife to about 1/2 inch beyond rim. Fold up, and pinch so edge of pie is raised from rim.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups granulated sugar
1 (15 ounce) can 100% pure pumpkin
1 cup canola oil
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray three 9×5 inch loaf pans with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine sugar, pumpkin, canola oil, water, vanilla, and eggs. Mix until smooth.
  4. Slowly blend in flour mixture. Fold in chocolate chips. Evenly divide batter between the three loaf pans.
  5. Bake for 60 minutes, or until browned and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove loaves from oven and cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. With a knife, go around the bread and loosen the loaves. Remove from pan and cool completely before slicing.

Best Rolled Sugar Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

Icing

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • assorted food coloring
  1. In a small bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.
  2. Divide into separate bowls, and add food coloring to each to desired intensity. Dip cookies, or paint them with a brush.

Rolo Bites

50 small pretzel twists
50 pieces rolo candies
50 pieces whole pecans or 50 pieces walnuts
Place pretzel pieces on a baking sheet.  (I like Snyder’s pretzels). Top with one Rolo candy.
Place in a warm (250 degrees) oven to just let the Rolo candy melt on top of the pretzel to hold it in place. Remove from oven and place a pecan piece on top.
Let cool and harden.

World’s Best Dinner Rolls – from Ourbestbites.com

This recipe makes 24 rolls – Recipe source
Ingredients
  1. 2 c. whole milk (if you’re in a pinch, you can use 2%, but whole is best. Don’t use 1% or skim)
  2. ½ cup + 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
  3. 1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) butter
  4. 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  5. 2 packages active dry yeast (or 4 1/2 tsp.), preferably bread machine yeast
  6. 2/3 cup warm (105-115-degree) water
  7. 8-9 cups all-purpose flour
  8. 3 beaten eggs
Instructions
  1. Combine milk, 1/2 c. sugar, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until butter melts. Remove from heat. Allow to cool to lukewarm. I usually rub some ice cubes along the sides of the pan or pop the entire pan in a sink full of ice cubes to cool the mixture down because this step can take forever. This step is really important because if the mixture is too hot, it will kill the yeast.
  2. While the milk mixture is cooling, dissolve the yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes. If the yeast hasn’t bubbled, you’ll need to repeat this step–moving on with yeast that hasn’t been activated properly will only end in heartache for you and hate mail for us.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 c. flour and milk mixture. Beat on low for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Add yeast mixture and beat on high for 3 minutes.
  4. Add beaten eggs. Why should you beat your eggs first? Same reason you should combine your dry ingredients before adding them to moist ingredients when making cookies and cakes–it ensures everything is well-mixed and can be evenly-distributed through your dough or batter. If you add the whole eggs, your dough may not be as consistent.
  5. Stir in as much remaining flour as needed to make a soft dough. This dough should be very soft–it will be coming away from the sides of the bowl, but it will still stick to your finger when you touch it. Don’t worry, it will firm up during the rising process. Part of what makes these rolls so good is that they’re so soft and light; if you add too much flour, they will be heavy and dense. Place the bowl in a warm place and cover with a clean towel; allow to rise 1 hour.
  6. Punch down dough. Lightly flour your work surface and turn dough out onto surface. Divide in half.
  7. Spray 2 9×13 glass pans with cooking spray. Roll first portion of dough into a rectangle and then cut it into 12 equal-sized pieces. I like to use a pizza cutter because it has a blade on each side, so it cuts right through dough without sticking to the blade. This dough should be very easy to work with, almost like playdough. Shape each piece into a ball and place in prepared pan. Repeat with remaining dough in the second pan.
  8. Cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. When dough has about 15-20 minutes to go (depending on your oven), preheat oven to 375.
  9. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden-brown.
  10. When done, remove from oven. Rub a stick of cold butter over the tops of the rolls.

Cranberry-Jalapeno Cream Cheese Dip

INGREDIENTS:

12 ounces fresh cranberries
4-5 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 cup sugar (more or less to taste)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1 large lemon)
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 (8 ounces each) packages cream cheese, light or regular, softened
Crackers, for serving

DIRECTIONS:
Pulse the cranberries in a food processor or blender until coarsely chopped (alternately, you can do this task by hand). Add the green onions, cilantro, jalapeno, sugar, cumin, lemon juice and salt and pulse until the ingredients are well combined and finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a covered bowl or Tupperware and refrigerate for 4 hours (or up to overnight) so the flavors have time to develop and the cranberries lose a bit of their tartness.

When ready to serve, spread the cream cheese in an even layer on a serving plate or 9-inch pie dish. Top with the cranberry-jalapeno mixture, spreading evenly over the top of the cream cheese.

Refrigerate for up to an hour before serving. Serve with crackers or tortilla chips.

Traditional Christmas Eve Potatoes   

Ingredients:

  • ·         1 small onion, diced (optional)
  • ·         2-3 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
  • ·         1-2 Tbsp. butter
  • ·         1 28-oz. bag shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • ·         2 c. sour cream
  • ·         1 10-oz. can cream of chicken (or cream of mushroom) soup
  • ·         2 1/4 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • ·         3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • ·         1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

        OPTIONAL: Crushed cornflakes, seasoned bread crumbs, crushed potato chips, or crushed Ritz or saltine crackers

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.  In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is translucent and the garlic is fragrant.  Remove from heat.  Add the thawed hash browns, sour cream, cream of chicken soup, cheese, salt, and pepper and combine well.  Add additional salt and pepper if necessary.

Spread the mixture into a 9×13″ (or similar) dish and bake for 50-60 minutes or until the casserole is hot in the center and the cheese is bubbly throughout.  Serve with a salad and fruit or alongside roasted ham, turkey, chicken, or beef.  You can add ham chunks and peas to make a main meal out of it.

Christmas Morning Breakfast Casserole 

Ingredients

  • ·         2 small cans chopped green chilies
  • ·         1 large bag of shredded hash browns (32 oz bag), thawed
  • ·         1 Tablespoon dried onion flakes
  • ·         1 Tablespoon onion powder
  • ·         1 medium container (16 ounces) cottage cheese (2 cups)
  • ·         1/2 to 1 cup sour cream
  • ·         1/2 cup milk
  • ·         4-6 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • ·         2 packages Jimmy Dean sausage
  • ·         1 pound bacon
  • ·         12 eggs

Instructions

1.    Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil. Arrange bacon slices on the foil and place the baking sheet on the center rack.  Cook for about 15 minutes or until done.  Drain fat, pat bacon with paper towel to remove excess fat.

2.    While bacon is cooking, crumble your two packages of Jimmy Dean’s sausage in a fry pan and cook.  Drain grain and rinse excess fat from sausage in a strainer under hot water.

3.    Open 2 small cans of green chilies and dump contents into a bowl.

4.    Add the dried onion flakes and cottage cheese to the chilies and stir together.  (I was about a cup shy on the cottage cheese so I added a cup of sour cream to make up for it).   Sprinkle about a tablespoon of onion powder over the mix and stir.

5.    Add 4-6 cups grated cheese and about a 1/2 cup of sour cream and mix all this together, then add crumbled sausage and stir together.

6.    Add bag of hash browns to the mix and combined thoroughly.

7.    Spoon this mixture into your lightly greased casserole dish.

8.    Mix 12 eggs together with a fork in a separate bowl and then pour them over the top of the casserole.

9.     I poured about a 1/2 cup of milk over the top of the casserole to help moisten it at this point.

10.  Sprinkle crumbled bacon over the top.

11.  Bake at 350 degrees uncovered for about 50-60 minutes until lightly browned on top or until bubbly around the edges.

Best Gingerbread Cookies Recipe

These are hands down the BEST gingerbread cookies I have ever had.

This recipe made thick, soft, delicious cookies. Emilie made them last night and we decorated them with homemade icing, red hots and jelly beans.  Recipe source: http://theparsimoniousprincess.blogspot.com/search?q=gingerbread+cookies

gingerbread

 

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (3 sticks), softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup molasses
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. ground ginger
5 cups all-purpose flour

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs one at a time until incorporated.

Add molasses.  Mix.

In a separate bowl, combine the soda, salt, spices, and flour.  Add to the wet mixture. Mix until smooth.

Before you roll out the dough, you need to let the dough chill for a couple hours.  Flatten the dough on a piece of plastic wrap, then wrap it up, and put it the fridge. This makes rolling out the chilled dough a little easier because it’s ready to go.

Once your dough has chilled, roll it out onto a floured countertop until it’s about 1/4 inch thick.  Cut into desired shapes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

On a lined or greased baking sheet, bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes or until just golden brown.  Let the cookies cool on wire racks before you decorate.

We used homemade icing that we put in a large plastic bag with a hole cut at the edge to squeeze the icing from before adding the candy.

Pecan Bars

This is an especially favorite recipe.

  • 2  cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1/2  cup  sugar
  • 1/8  teaspoon  salt
  • 3/4  cup  butter or margarine, cut up

Topping:

  • 1  cup  firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1  cup  light corn syrup
  • 1/2  cup  butter or margarine
  • 4  large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 1/2  cups  finely chopped pecans
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla extract

Combine flour, sugar, and salt in large bowl; cut in 3/4 cup butter thoroughly with a pastry blender until mixture resembles very fine crumbs. Press mixture evenly into a greased 13″ x 9″ pan, using a piece of plastic wrap to press crumb mixture firmly in pan.  Bake at 350° for 17 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Combine brown sugar, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup butter in a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring gently. Remove from heat.  IMPORTANT: Let it cool for about 5 minutes and then stir one-fourth of hot mixture into beaten eggs (if you don’t let it cool, it will cook your eggs); add this to remaining hot mixture. Stir in pecans and vanilla. Pour filling over crust. Bake at 350° for 34 to 35 minutes or until set. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Ingredients

  • ·         1 cup shortening
  • ·         1 cup white sugar
  • ·         1 cup brown sugar
  • ·         2 eggs (beaten)
  • ·         1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • ·         2 cups sifted flour
  • ·         1 teaspoon soda
  • ·         1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ·         1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ·         1 cup oatmeal (instant)
  • ·         1 cup chocolate chips

Cream shortening and sugars together, then add eggs and vanilla.  Stir.  Sift together into mixture 2 cups flour, and the soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Stir.  Add dry oatmeal and chocolate chips and stir.  Texture will be very thick.  Place on cookie sheets.  Note: This recipe does NOT state whether or not the cookie sheet should be greased so I would lightly spray the sheet with Pam spray.  Cook only until very slightly brown (the cookies will still look doughy) for about 10 minutes or less.  Let cool.

Tips:  Make sure you use a whole cup of shortening, packed.  Be sure to under-cook them–don’t let them get very brown at all–so they fall apart when you take them off…until they cool.  This is what makes them so chewy and good.

Krislings – White powdered wedding cookie

Ingredients

  • ·         ½ cup sugar
  • ·         1 lb butter
  • ·         2 tsp vanilla
  • ·         ½ slivered almonds
  • ·         3 ½ cups flour

Put 1/2 cup sugar, 1 lb butter, 2 tsp vanilla in mixer–mix well. Add 1/2 cup slivered raw almonds and 3 1/2 cups flour to mixer—mix well (should be kind of fluffy). Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes (golden brown on bottom). They cook fast so check on them. Let cool, cover in powdered sugar.

Lydi Gygi’s Christmas Date Cookies

Ingredients: 1 cup chopped dates, 1 stick butter, 1 egg, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup chopped nuts, 2 1/2 cups Rice Krispies cereal, coconut, 1 teaspoon vanilla.

  • ·         1 cup chopped dates
  • ·         1 stick of butter
  • ·         1 egg
  • ·         1 cup sugar

Mix and bring to a boil; turn heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.

Add:

  • ·         1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • ·         2 1/2 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • ·         1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix well when heated mixture has cooled off a bit but is still warm.  Roll mix into “fingers” shapes and then roll the “fingers” in coconut while still warm.

These cookies can be frozen but I don’t expect they will last long enough to need to be frozen for later.

Christmas Eve Caramel Popcorn Balls

  • ·         1 (1 lb.) package brown sugar
  • ·         1 cup light corn syrup

Bring to boil stirring continually.  Remove from heat and add:

  • ·         1 square of butter
  • ·         1 can sweetened condensed milk

Put pot back on heat and cook to soft ball stage.

Pour over popped corn and mix well.  Let cool a bit before forming balls.  Shape into balls and wrap in waxed paper for Christmas Eve!

Grandma Milne’s Christmas Fudge

Ingredients

  • ·         2 large Hershey Bars with Almonds
  • ·         1 12 ounce package of semi-sweet chocolate chips (Grandma uses milk chocolate)
  • ·         1 7 ounce jar of marshmallow creme
  • ·         2 cups of broken walnuts (or pecan if you don’t like walnuts)
  • ·         2 teaspoons of vanilla pre-measured and sitting in a small bowl ready to pour later
  • ·         1 stick and a quarter of a second stick of butter (When 4 sticks equal a 1-lb package)

Get a large bowl.  Break up 2 large Hershey bars with almonds and pour into the bowl.  Add one 12 ounce package of semisweet chocolate chips and one 7 ounce jar of marshmallow creme and 2 cups of broken walnuts.  If you don’t like walnuts, use pecans.

Have 2 pre-measured teaspoons of vanilla waiting on the side in a small bowl to add to fudge later.

In a large heavy pan bring to a boil for 5 minutes:

1 and 1/4  cubes of butter (not margarine); four and a half cups of sugar and 1 can of evaporated milk.  Stir it with a wooden spoon until it starts to boil.  Quit stirring and let it boil for EXACTLY five minutes–NO MORE, NO LESS than five minutes.  It is extremely important that you time it exactly.  After it reaches the 5 minute point, pour it immediately over all the ingredients in the bowl and stir it with a wooden spoon.  Melt everything before it starts to set up.  When just about there to the setting up stage, pour in your two teaspoons of vanilla and pour the entire thing into a 9×12 pan.  Allow to set up overnight so flavors blend.  Don’t stir after you pour it into the pan or you will ruin it by making it grainy.

Ginger Cookies

I got this recipe from my friend Jeanette.  This is the best ginger snap cookie I’ve ever tasted.  It’s soft and chewy and would make a perfect holiday gift for neighbors and friends.

  • 1 ½ cups of butter (softened)
  • 2 cups of brown sugar
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • Mix together in mixer until fluffy
  • Sift Together in another bowl:
  • 6 cups of flour
  • 4 tsp. soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves

Mix 2 bowls together.  Form into small balls, roll in sugar.

Bake @375 for 11-12 minutes

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chip Pretzel Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. of salt
  • 1/4 tsp. of baking soda
  • 1/2 cup of butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/2 cup broken up pretzel pieces
  • Sea Salt

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a larger bowl, beat the butter and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). On low speed, slowly add the beaten egg and vanilla extract. Beat to combine, scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add the flour mixture and beat just until there are no more streaks of flour. Stir in the chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and pretzels. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop out well rounded tablespoonfuls of the dough and sprinkle with pretzel salt. Leave about 2 inches between each ball. Bake for 10 minutes. If you prefer crispier cookies increase the baking time by 1-2 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing.

Caramels

I got this recipe from my friend Paula.

2 ½ cups sugar
2 cups white Karo syrup
3 cups whipping cream
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 T. vanilla
4 cups walnuts (optional)
½ can sweetened condensed milk

Boil sugar, syrup and salt together for about 10 min in a heavy saucepan.  Heat cream and condensed milk together in another pan.  Do not allow cream to boil, but keep warm.

Add cream mixture slowly to boiling syrup, a few Tbl at a time, but do not allow the mixture to stop boiling. Stir constantly, after 20 min of cooking, turn heat off under cream. Cook to 232 degrees. Add vanilla and nuts. Pour into buttered pan. Two 9×9 pans are good, or a 9×13 pan. Put in cool place. Let set overnight. Cut into squares and wrap in saran wrap, or dip in chocolate first.

No Bake Cookies

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Cups granulated sugar
  • 8 Tablespoon(s) (1 stick) butter
  • 1/2 Cup Low-Fat Milk
  • 1/3 Cup baking cocoa
  • 3 Cups Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)

PREPARATION:

In large saucepan, combine sugar, margarine, milk and cocoa. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Continue boiling 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in oats.* Drop by tablespoonfuls onto waxed paper. Let stand until firm. Store tightly covered.

Serving Tips: *If using old fashioned oats, cool mixture in saucepan 5 minutes.

Make Ahead Christmas Morning French Toast

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • Bread, sliced, to cover butter mixture
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

In a saucepan, melt butter, brown sugar and corn syrup. Pour into a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Arrange bread pieces on top. Beat together eggs, half-and-half, vanilla and salt. Pour egg mixture over the top of the bread. Cover and chill overnight in the refrigerator. The next morning, bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Frosted Ginger Cookies:

I got this delicious cookie recipe from my friend Tamara.  Makes about 36.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 ½ cups all purposes flour
  • 1 Tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves

Frosting

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt

In a large bowl cream butter and sugar; add eggs beating well one after another.  Stir in molasses and vanilla. Mix well.  Combine dry ingredients and gradually add to the mixture.  Drop by teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake 325 12 to 15 minutes until they spring back when touched.  Do not over bake.  Remove to wire racks.

Frosting:  In a large saucepan bring butter, milk and brown sugar to a boil.  Cook and stir for one minute.  Remove from heat.  It will look curdled.  Cool for 3 minutes.  Add confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and salt.  Mix well.  Frost warm cookies.  Yields 6 dozen.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chip Pretzel Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. of salt
  • 1/4 tsp. of baking soda
  • 1/2 cup of butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/2 cup broken up pretzel pieces
  • Sea Salt

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a larger bowl, beat the butter and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). On low speed, slowly add the beaten egg and vanilla extract. Beat to combine, scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add the flour mixture and beat just until there are no more streaks of flour. Stir in the chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and pretzels. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop out well rounded tablespoonfuls of the dough and sprinkle with pretzel salt. Leave about 2 inches between each ball. Bake for 10 minutes. If you prefer crispier cookies increase the baking time by 1-2 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing.

Ginger Snap Cookies

This is the best ginger snap cookie I’ve ever tasted.  It’s soft and chewy and would make a perfect holiday gift for neighbors and friends.

  • 1 ½ cups of butter (softened)
  • 2 cups of brown sugar
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • Mix together in mixer until fluffy
  • Sift Together in another bowl:
  • 6 cups of flour
  • 4 tsp. soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves

Mix 2 bowls together.  Form into small balls, roll in sugar.

Bake @375 for 11-12 minutes

Christmas: Caramels

Caramels

2 ½ cups sugar
2 cups white Karo syrup
3 cups whipping cream
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 T. vanilla
4 cups walnuts (optional)
½ can sweetened condensed milk

Boil sugar, syrup and salt together for about 10 min in a heavy saucepan.  Heat cream and condensed milk together in another pan.  Do not allow cream to boil, but keep warm.

Add cream mixture slowly to boiling syrup, a few tablespoons at a time, but do not allow the mixture to stop boiling. Stir constantly, after 20 min of cooking, turn heat off under cream. Cook to 232 degrees. Add vanilla and nuts. Pour into buttered pan. Two 9×9 pans are good, or a 9×13 pan. Put in cool place. Let set overnight. Cut into squares and wrap in saran wrap, or dip in chocolate first.

Christmas: Caramel Popcorn Balls

Caramel Popcorn Balls

  • ·         1 (1 lb.) package brown sugar
  • ·         1 cup light corn syrup

Bring to boil stirring continually.  Remove from heat and add:

  • ·         1 square of butter
  • ·         1 can sweetened condensed milk

Put pot back on heat and cook to soft ball stage.

Pour over popped corn and mix well.  Let cool a bit before forming balls.  Shape into balls and wrap in waxed paper for Christmas Eve!

Christmas Cookies: Frosted Ginger Cookies

Frosted Ginger Cookies:

Serves 36; preparation time: 20 minutes / bake time: 15 min. a batch

I got this delicious cookie recipe from my friend Tamara.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 ½ cups all purposes flour
  • 1 Tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves

Frosting

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt

In a large bowl cream butter and sugar; add eggs beating well one after another.  Stir in molasses and vanilla. Mix well.  Combine dry ingredients and gradually add to the mixture.  Drop by teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake 325 12 to 15 minutes until they spring back when touched.  Do not over bake.  Remove to wire racks.

Frosting:  In a large saucepan bring butter, milk and brown sugar to a boil.  Cook and stir for one minute.  Remove from heat.  It will look curdled.  Cool for 3 minutes.  Add confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and salt.  Mix well.  Frost warm cookies.  Yields 6 dozen.

Christmas Cookies: Best Ginger Snap Cookie

 

 

 

 

 

Ginger Snap Cookies

This is the best ginger snap cookie I’ve ever tasted.  It’s soft and chewy and would make a perfect holiday gift for neighbors and friends.

  • 1 ½ cups of butter (softened)
  • 2 cups of brown sugar
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • Mix together in mixer until fluffy
  • Sift Together in another bowl:
  • 6 cups of flour
  • 4 tsp. soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves

Mix 2 bowls together.  Form into small balls, roll in sugar.

Bake @375 for 11-12 minutes

Christmas: Make Ahead Christmas Morning French Toast

Make Ahead Christmas Morning French Toast

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • Bread, sliced, to cover butter mixture
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

In a saucepan, melt butter, brown sugar and corn syrup. Pour into a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Arrange bread pieces on top. Beat together eggs, half-and-half, vanilla and salt. Pour egg mixture over the top of the bread. Cover and chill overnight in the refrigerator. The next morning, bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Christmas Cookies: Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chip Pretzel Cookies

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chip Pretzel Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. of salt
  • 1/4 tsp. of baking soda
  • 1/2 cup of butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/2 cup broken up pretzel pieces
  • Sea Salt

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a larger bowl, beat the butter and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). On low speed, slowly add the beaten egg and vanilla extract. Beat to combine, scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add the flour mixture and beat just until there are no more streaks of flour. Stir in the chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and pretzels. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop out well rounded tablespoonfuls of the dough and sprinkle with pretzel salt. Leave about 2 inches between each ball. Bake for 10 minutes. If you prefer crispier cookies increase the baking time by 1-2 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing.

 

Top 15 Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Top 15 Anti-Inflammatory Foods

When we look at the diseases that plague our society — arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) — we see that long-term lifestyle changes are needed. What might not be as obvious is the common denominator tied to all of them and more: inflammation is at the root of most diseases.

By addressing the inflammation with anti-inflammatory foods, not only can the symptoms of these diseases be alleviated, but we could even see them cured.


Anti-Inflammatory Foods Can Transform Your Health

Inflammation as a bodily function is not necessarily a bad thing. When the body is injured or ill, the lymphatic (immune) system springs into action, bringing the immune system’s army of white blood cells to the area of concern via increased blood flow.

With the increased attention to the area, there might also be swelling, redness, heat, and pain or discomfort. You’ve probably seen this immune response in action, as a cut or scrape becomes hot and puffy around the wound while the extra blood runs. Inflammation, in a healthy body, is the normal and effective response that facilitates healing.

Sadly, we know this isn’t the whole story.

When the immune system overreaches and begins attacking healthy body tissues, we’re met with an autoimmune disorder like leaky gut and inflammation in otherwise healthy areas of the body. This is also the case for arthritis and fibromyalgia symptoms, as well as celiac and irritable bowel disease (IBD). For diseases that aren’t autoimmune, inflammation can still play a part as the body continuously tries to heal the tissues in a given area. Asthma creates inflamed airways; inflammation related to diabetes affects insulin resistance; and so on.

Despite the connection between inflammation and prevalent diseases, as well as the connection between diet and inflammation that we’ll explore, diet isn’t always analyzed in response to inflammation. In a 2014 study on diet and IBD, 33 percent of the patients in the study opted against the proposed anti-inflammatory diet. All of the patients who participated and consumed anti-inflammatory foods found enough relief that they were able to discontinue at least one of their medications. Still, the study notes that physicians typically offer “if it hurts, don’t do it” advice instead of clear dietary guidelines. (1)

Certainly, there is more we can do to promote anti-inflammatory lifestyle changes.


The Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Standard American diets (appropriately called SAD) are never touted as exemplary, but when talking about inflammation, it becomes vitally important to rethink our typical diets. As a report from the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases reported:

While today’s modern diet may provide beneficial protection from micro- and macronutrient deficiencies, our over abundance of calories and the macronutrients that compose our diet may all lead to increased inflammation, reduced control of infection, increased rates of cancer, and increased risk for allergic and auto-inflammatory disease. (2)

To move toward an anti-inflammatory diet and anti-inflammatory foods, we primarily move away from the abundance of overly processed, unbalanced diets of the West and toward the ancient eating patterns of the Mediterranean. (3) A Mediterranean diet comprises plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, little to no red meat, certainly no chemicals or meat additives, and an abundance of omega-3 foods.

As we look into the anti-inflammatory components of certain foods and herbs, we can see how this kind of diet is linked with lowered inflammation. Among the many compounds found in fresh produce, a few general categories stand out as beneficial when attacking inflammation and inflammatory diseases at their source.

There’s little doubt that the pursuit of a healing diet begins with a menu high in vegetables, fruits, wild meats and sprouted seeds rich with omega-3 benefits. The evidence is clear that such anti-inflammatory foods can regulate the immune system and impact the way inflammation affects our bodies and our lives. (4)


Top 15 Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Small, gradual changes are typically more sustainable, easier for the body to adapt to and can make you less likely to go back to your old ways. So rather than emptying your pantry and sailing off to the Mediterranean, you can pursue an anti-inflammatory diet one step at a time.

By adding in the anti-inflammatory foods that fight inflammation and restore health at a cellular level, you can begin to repair the body without any drastic changes. Once you find foods that heal your body and satisfy your palate, you can remove the inflammation-causing offenders without feeling deprived. Let’s take a look at 15 of the best anti-inflammatory foods you can add to your diet.

1. Green Leafy Vegetables

The produce drawer is the first spot in your refrigerator or pantry to fill when fighting inflammation. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants that restore cellular health, as well as anti-inflammatory flavonoids. If you struggle to consume added portions of green leafy vegetables, try this delicious anti-inflammatory juice that incorporates greens alongside some of the strongest anti-inflammatory foods in the list.

Swiss chard nutrition, for example, is extremely high in the antioxidants vitamin A and C, as well as vitamin K, which can protect your brain against oxidative stress caused by free radical damage. Eating chard can also protect you against the common vitamin K deficiency.

2. Bok Choy

Also known as Chinese cabbage, bok choy is an excellent source of antioxidant vitamins and minerals. In fact, recent studies show that there are over 70 antioxidant phenolic substances in bok choy. These include something called hydroxycinnamic acids, which are robust antioxidants that scavenge free radicals. (5) A versatile vegetable, bok choy can be made in many dishes outside of Chinese cuisine, so make it one of your go-to anti-inflammatory foods.

3. Celery

In recent pharmacological studies, benefits of celery include both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities that help improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as prevent heart disease. Celery seeds — which can be found either in whole seed form, extract form or ground-up — have impressive health benefits on their own, as they help to lower inflammation and to fight bacterial infections. It’s an excellent source of potassium, as well as antioxidants and vitamins.

Also, balance is the key to a healthy body free of inflammation. A good example of mineral balance tied to inflammation is the proper mix of sodium foods and potassium-rich foods. Sodium brings in fluid and nutrients, while potassium flushes toxins. We know that processed foods are high in sodium, but our SAD diets aren’t as rich in potassium. Without this pairing, toxins can build up in the body, once again inviting inflammation. One of the benefits of celery is that it’s an excellent source of potassium, as well as antioxidants and vitamins.

4. Beets

A marker of a food chock-full of antioxidants is its deep color, and beets are a prime example! The umbrella category of antioxidants includes a great deal of substances. In general, they fight to repair the cell damage caused by inflammation. In the case of beets, the antioxidant betalain gives them their signature color and is an excellent anti-inflammatory. (6) When added to the diet, beet benefits include repairing cells and adding high levels of inflammation-fighting potassium and magnesium.

Beets also contain quite a bit of magnesium, and a magnesium deficiency is strongly linked with inflammatory conditions. (7) Calcium, while a vital nutrient, is not processed well within the body without magnesium. When calcium builds up in the body, it becomes unwanted — this unpleasant buildup, such as calcified kidney stones, then invites inflammation. But when a balanced diet is consumed, with anti-inflammatory foods rich in calcium as well as magnesium, the body better processes what’s consumed.

5. Broccoli

The poster vegetable for healthy eating, it’s no secret that broccoli is a valuable addition to any diet. For an anti-inflammatory diet, it’s invaluable. Broccoli is high in both potassium and magnesium, and its antioxidants are particularly potent anti-inflammatory substances in their own right. (8)

Broccoli is an antioxidant powerhouse, with key vitamins, flavonoids and carotenoids. These work together to lower oxidative stress in the body and help battle both chronic inflammation and the risk of developing cancer. (9)

6. Blueberries

One antioxidant in particular stands out as an especially strong anti-inflammatory, and that’s quercetin. Found in citrus, olive oil and dark-colored berries, quercetin is a flavonoid (a beneficial substance or phytonutrient that’s prevalent in fresh foods) that fights inflammation and even cancer. (10) The presence of quercetin is one of the health benefits of blueberries.

In a study seeking treatment for IBD, an extract from the noni fruit was used to affect the gut flora and colon damage done by inflammatory diseases. Of the effects the extract had, quercetin created the prominent anti-inflammatory actions.

Another study found that consuming more blueberries slowed cognitive decline and improved memory and motor function. The scientists in this study believed these results were due to the antioxidants in blueberries protective the body from oxidative stress and reducing inflammation.

7. Pineapple

Usually, when it’s packaged in supplement form, quercetin is often paired with bromelain, a digestive enzyme that’s one of the benefits of pineapple. After being used for years as part of an anti-inflammatory foods protocol, bromelain is observed to have immune-modulating abilities — that is, it helps regulate the immune response that so often creates unwanted and unnecessary inflammation. (11)

Pineapple also helps improve heart health because of the effects of powerful bromelain. which can fight blood clotting and is nature’s answer to those taking an aspirin a day to lower the risk of heart attack. Bromelain has been shown to stop blood platelets from sticking together or building up along the walls of blood vessels – both known causes of heart attacks or strokes.

The benefits of pineapple are due to its high supply of vitamin Cvitamin B1, potassium and manganese, in addition to other special antioxidants that help prevent disease formation. Pineapple is filled with phytonutrients that work as well as many medicines do to reduce symptoms of some of the most common illnesses and conditions we see today. 

Top anti-inflammatory foods

8. Salmon

Salmon is an excellent source of essential fatty acids, and considered one of the best omega-3 foods. Omega-3s are some of the most potent anti-inflammatory substances, showing consistent relief of inflammation and reduction of the need for anti-inflammatory medications. (12)

Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function. (13)

The source of fish and meat among anti-inflammatory foods is a vital component. One of the dangers of farmed fish is it doesn’t have the same nutrients as wild-caught salmon.

9. Bone broth

Bone broths contain minerals in forms that your body can easily absorb: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and others. They contain chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, the compounds sold as pricey supplements to reduce inflammation, arthritis and joint pain. (14)

When my patients suffer from leaky gut syndrome, I ask them to consume a lot of bone broth it contains collagen and the amino acids proline and glycine that can help heal leaky gut and the damaged cell walls of the inflamed gut.

10. Walnuts

When following a diet without a lot of meats, nuts and seeds can make up the difference for protein and omega-3s. Add omega-3-rich walnuts to green leafy salads drizzled with olive oil for a satisfying anti-inflammatory meal, or grab a handful for an on-the-go snack.

Phytonutrients can help protect against metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes. And some phytonutrients in walnuts are hard to find in any other foods. (15)

11. Coconut oil

So much can be written about the way herbs and oils work together to form anti-inflammatory partnerships. Lipids (fats) and spices create strong anti-inflammatory compounds, especially coconut oil and the components of turmeric (see #15). (16) In a study in India, the high levels of antioxidants present in virgin coconut oil reduced inflammation and healed arthritis more effectively than leading medications. (17

Also, oxidative stress and free radicals are the two biggest culprits of osteoporosis. Since coconut oil benefits include fighting such free radicals with its high levels of antioxidants, it’s a leading natural treatment for osteoporosis.

Coconut oil uses include topical preparations as well as culinary — and as a heat-stable oil, it’s excellent for sautéing anti-inflammatory vegetables.

12. Chia seeds

Fatty acids found in nature are more balanced than the fats we typically consume in our typical diets. Chia seeds benefits, for example, offer both omega-3 and omega-6, which should be consumed in balance with one another. (18)

Chia are an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory powerhouse, containing essential fatty acids alpha-linolenic and linoleic acid, mucin, strontium, vitamins A, B, E, and D, and minerals including sulphur, iron, iodine,  magnesium, manganese, niacin, thiamine.

Chia seeds’ ability to reverse inflammation, regulate cholesterol and lower blood pressure make it extremely beneficial to consume for heart health. (19) Also, by reversing oxidative stress, someone is less likely to develop atherosclerosis when they’re regularly consuming chia seeds.

13. Flaxseeds

An excellent source of omega-3s and phytonutrients, flaxseeds benefits include being packed with  antioxidants. Lignans are unique fiber-related polyphenols that provide us with antioxidant benefits for anti-aging, hormone balance and cellular health. Polyphenols support the growth of probiotics in the gut and may also help eliminate yeast and candida in the body.

Before you use them alongside your other new anti-inflammatory foods, consider grinding them in a coffee grinder to ensure the digestive tract has easy access to their many benefits. (20)

14. Turmeric

Turmeric’s primary compound, curcumin, is its active anti-inflammatory component. Documented for its affects against inflammation in numerous circumstances, turmeric health benefits prove invaluable in an anti-inflammatory diet. (21)

The journal Oncogene published the results of a study that evaluated several anti-inflammatory compounds. It found that aspirin (Bayer, etc.) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.) are least potent, while curcumin is among the most potent anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative agents in the world. (22)

Due to its high anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is highly effective at helping people manage rheumatoid arthritis (RA). A recent study out of Japan evaluated its relationship with interleukin (IL)-6, the inflammatory cytokine known to be involved in the RA process, and discovered that curcumin “significantly reduced” these inflammatory markers. (23)

15. Ginger

Used fresh, dried, or in supplement form and extracts, ginger is another immune modulator that helps reduce inflammation caused by overactive immune responses.

Ayurvedic medicine has praised ginger’s ability to boost the immune system before recorded history. It believes that because ginger is so effective at warming the body, it can help break down the accumulation of toxins in your organs. It’s also known to cleanse the lymphatic system, our body’s sewage system.

In fact, ginger health benefits may even include treating inflammation in allergic and asthmatic disorders. (24)


Inflammatory Foods to Avoid

With anti-inflammatory foods filling the diet, you naturally begin to eliminate pro-inflammatory foods and substances — they’re not as satisfying as a diet rich in whole foods.

A prime suspect is the duo of saturated and trans fatty acids. Found in processed foods, these fats cause inflammation and increase risk factors for obesity, diabetes and heart conditions. (25) The same foods are also likely to be higher in omega-6 fatty acids, which are necessary but only to an extent.

In excess and without the balance of omega-3s, omega-6 fats actually create inflammation in the body. Sadly, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports, “The typical American diet tends to contain 14–25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids.” (26)

Simple, refined sugars and carbohydrates are more inflammation-causing culprits. Limiting refined grains is an important factor in an anti-inflammatory diet. (27) Whole grains should replace the refined carbohydrates, as truly whole grains are important sources of nutrition. (28) Sourcing these grains as fermented sourdough allows the nutrients to be broken down and better available to the body. (29)

Finally, establishing a regular routine of physical activity can help prevent systemic inflammation from building up or returning. (30) An active life fueled by fresh, whole anti-inflammatory foods and unrestricted by processed, toxic compounds can set you on the path toward freedom from inflammation.